Vancouver History: Lord Roberts School


Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 — 7:37am PST
Comments 5

During Blogathon I took on the “A-Z” of Metro Vancouver and for some of my entries I shared random history tidbits ie. “Y” for Yasutaro Yamaga and “P” is for Pender. I still needed an “L” and I found inspiration close to home.

Strolling around the neighbourhood the other day I noticed there’s history all around the West End of Vancouver, from Pauline’s Monument in Stanley Park, to Roedde House. Using such inspiration from this area I decided to look up the history of Lord Roberts School – an majestic old elementary school on Bidwell Street.

Lord Roberts school was opened in the Spring of 1901 at a time when the city was growing rapidly. The building was a wooden structure containing eight classrooms, located at the centre of the existing playground. Sixty three trees were planted around the school grounds to mark the opening day celebrations and a few of the trees are still standing. The original structure was removed when the new wing was added to the present brick building. [Lord Roberts]

The school was named after Frederick Roberts, a solider in the Victorian era who was affectionately known as “Bobs” by the troops he commanded. Famous former students include…

Yvonne de Carlo, who later graduated from King Edward and onto the silver screen in The Ten Commandments and became known throughout all households as Lily Munster.

… and Charles Kingsford-Smith,the first man to fly across the Pacific Ocean, and the first to fly across both the Pacific and the Atlantic. [Source: VancouverHistory]

In 2004, under the guidance of Richard Tetrault (known for murals around the city at community centres, housing developments, banks, and schools) the students thought up a mural showcasing multiculturalism, reflecting and celebrating their own diversity at the school.


“The Respect Mural” – Photo credit: keepitsurreal on Flickr

“In 1998, Tetrault was artist co-ordinator for the community-based Walls of Change, a six-month project designed to give the community of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver an opportunity to express both its uniqueness and its concerns.” [BCTF]

In 1986 City Farmer helped plant a community garden for the school, which is still growing strong today. The children plant the seeds, tend to the garden and enjoy a healthy harvest when it’s all ready to pick. The video below is pretty precious.


The Lord Roberts Garden

If Lord Roberts school shows me anything (aside from its lovely heritage structure) it’s that children are learning about tolerance, acceptance, and the importance of community while coming together for a common purpose. Watching something span numerous eras in this city is something that helps me hold on to history – if I know where we’ve been and what’s happened along the way, it gives me hope for the future.

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5 comments

  1. Sebrina says:

    Hi Rebecca, my name is Sebrina. I’ve never commented before now, so I thought I would introduce myself first.

    Awww, that video is indeed precious. What a great post. The children are even eating their vegetables, haha.

  2. Miss604 says:

    Hi Sebrina, thanks for the comment 🙂 I’m really glad I found that video too – it’s nice to focus on such positive things sometimes.

  3. fotoeins says:

    Beck, is there enough to do an A-to-Z for the West End peninsula? To some extent, some of your blog entries have covered aspects of Dub-E alphabet …

  4. Ryoh A says:

    I used to go to school K-7 and still hang out with many of the friends from that school. In fact, 2 of my best friends from LR, as we call it, work with me.

    Great post. Brings back a lot of memories.

  5. […] landmarks in the area formerly known as the boggy, soggy, West End Forest. [The Three Greenhorns] [Lord Roberts School] [Roedde House] [Joe […]

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